Bargaining Update

2021-03-10

 

We continue to be engaged in bargaining our first collective agreement with the employer. It is a slow process but there is still a lot of work going on. One of the first major milestones in bargaining is the exchange of proposals. We have our proposal ready to go and the official exchange will be taking place very soon.

 

Our Bargaining Committee meets regularly to discuss and review our proposal and strategies. This is the most important task we are currently working on. We must have a collective agreement that will blend the CMs, PSs, IMs, and TOs and ensure that the disparity created by the employer is corrected while considering the unique needs of each group.

 

Bargaining in good faith involves a great deal of confidentiality. We cannot share specific points in the proposed agreement until it comes time for a ratification vote. We must also not publicly share priority items or negotiating strategies because then the employer would know what is most important to us. However, we will continue to keep everyone updated with the major milestones of the collective bargaining process.

Bargaining and 2.3% Market Adjustment Update

Bargaining Update

2021-03-10

 

We continue to be engaged in bargaining our first collective agreement with the employer. It is a slow process but there is still a lot of work going on. One of the first major milestones in bargaining is the exchange of proposals. We have our proposal ready to go and the official exchange will be taking place very soon.

 

Our Bargaining Committee meets regularly to discuss and review our proposal and strategies. This is the most important task we are currently working on. We must have a collective agreement that will blend the CMs, PSs, IMs, and TOs and ensure that the disparity created by the employer is corrected while considering the unique needs of each group.

 

Bargaining in good faith involves a great deal of confidentiality. We cannot share specific points in the proposed agreement until it comes time for a ratification vote. We must also not publicly share priority items or negotiating strategies because then the employer would know what is most important to us. However, we will continue to keep everyone updated with the major milestones of the collective bargaining process.

 

2.3% Market Adjustment

2021-03-10

 

Our unfair labour practice complaint with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) is still very active and one of our top priorities. In 2016, the 2.3% market adjustment portion of our raises was unfairly withheld by the employer. All our members should have received this 2.3%.

 

Lawyers on both sides of this complaint are actively engaged in discussions to sort out the outstanding disclosure issue before we can head back to a hearing. We previously requested information from the employer and they are claiming that information is protected by Cabinet Confidence. This is the cause of these latest delays and we are working through them.

 

The Public Service Police Operations Support group (PO – TCO and IMA subgroups) is pay matched to the Civilian Member Law Enforcement Support group (LES – IM and TO subgroups). These groups are pay matched to the Regular Member (RM) pay and have been decades. This may change during the collective bargaining process; however, our position is that it has not changed yet and no changes to this pay structure has ever been communicated to us.

 

In 2016, RMs were given a 2.3% market adjustment pay increase and we were denied this same pay increase. Around the same time, we applied for union certification and the RCMP has been trying to re-write history after the fact. We will not let this go. By all accounts, we should have been provided this same pay increase in 2016 and we will keep fighting to make sure that we get it.

 

This issue affects every single one of us and we will not give up on such an important matter.

Phoenix Damages Agreement – Update

2021-03-08

In 2019, CUPE Local 104 signed a Phoenix Damages Agreement with the employer that saw up to five (5) days of leave awarded to our public service employees as damages for the frustration caused by the failed pay system. This award of leave provided flexibility for our members as they could take it as leave, bank it for use in the future, or cash it out. This agreement contained a “catch-up” clause that guaranteed our members would be further compensated if any other group negotiated a higher settlement.

 

Recently, PSAC finalized a settlement for their members in the amount of $1500 cash per employee. We believed this cash settlement was larger than the leave settlement we previously signed and so, we invoked the “catch-up” clause and negotiated an increased settlement for our members.

 

Our PO members who have a salary less than $78,264 ($300 per day) will receive an additional cash settlement (taxable). The amount of this additional settlement will be the difference between your daily rate of pay and $300. You are eligible for this additional cash settlement for each of the years that you already received 7.5 hours of leave as part of the 2019 agreement. No payments will be made for less than $10.

 

No action is needed on your part at this time. The individual cash settlements will take some time to calculate and distribute. This agreement applies to all public service employees who are or have been members of the PO group. Civilian Members are not paid by Phoenix and are not covered by this agreement.

Vacation Carry Over Limits – Update

Based on previous communications from the employer, we understood from the the CM leave carry over limit of 400 hours (before cash-outs) would be delayed until March 31, 2022. The employer has now advised they miscommunicated this in their bulletins. The delay in automatic payouts for PSE leave is not affected by this error.

There will be automatic cash-outs for any CM vacation leave that exceeds 400 hours on March 31, 2021. However, if any CM wishes to carry over more than 400 hours, they can exercise the exemption clause of the leave carry over policy. We have already discussed this with the employer and we expect full support at all levels should any of you wish to carry over any excess leave over 400 hours to the next fiscal year.

You, our members had an exceptionally tough year. Most of us could not take leave when we wanted or needed to and many of us went into the workplace as essential/critical services while most of the public service and much of the RCMP were able to work from home. COVID-19 affected our families and we still went to the workplace and found ways to manage things at home, which was not easy. We had leave restrictions imposed on us and we even had approved leave taken away from us. We were asked to take leave on sporadic days that we normally would not have requested, just to be able to get a day or two off.

The pandemic has made the nature of the work we do even more challenging as there are more precautions for us all to take and the nature of the calls and the volume seems to have become more intense which we know affects our mental health. We need rest and relaxation from work now more than ever.

If you are a CM and wish to carry over your vacation leave in excess of 400 hours this fiscal year (March 31, 2021), please contact your Local Steward or Regional Chairperson. They will provide you with the form that is required to be filled out and submitted to your supervisor. If you are denied or experience any issues then please advise your Regional Chairperson immediately.

This change does not affect PSEs. PSEs will not have their leave cashed out this fiscal year (March 31, 2021) which is due to the Phoenix pay issues. PSE have an extra year (until March 31, 2022) to reduce their leave below the carry over limit of 262.5 hours.

Attention Public Service Employees: Tier 3 of Phoenix Damages Agreement has been launched. Please see link below.

Attention Public Service Employees: Tier 3 of Phoenix Damages Agreement has been launched. Please see link below.

 

(https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/news/2021/01/government-of-canada-launches-new-claims-process-to-compensate-employees-for-severe-personal-or-financial-impacts-due-to-phoenix-pay-system.html?fbclid=IwAR3ZgumRroADiEDt6yVURIhAZ6Sxy6yAn7NKDCM3O57ICOaWYaWz9LRZDiU)

Executive Elections – Update

Please note that only Western TO’s have been sent voter cards for their TO Chairperson. All other have been acclaimed and a vote is not required.
 
Names will be released next week of those acclaimed and the winner of the Western TO Chairperson election.
 

Notice of Election

This is the Notice of an Election for the following positions:

 

President

Recording Secretary

Western Region TO Chair

Western Region IM Chair

Central Region TO Chair

Central Region IM Chair

Eastern Region IM Chair

Eastern Region TO Chair

on the Local 104 Executive Board, in accordance with our bylaws.

 

Key Dates:

 

Nominations: Jan 18-25

Voting: Feb 1-7

Results: Feb 16

 

Nomination forms are available online at:(https://104.cupe.ca/files/2021/01/Nomination-Package-2021-01-15.pdf.)

They must be scanned and e-mailed to elections@cupe104.ca before the nomination period closes on 2021-01-25.

 

Campaigning may take place at any time and is the sole responsibility of the nominee(s). Shortly after the close of the nomination period, and at the request of the nominee(s), the Elections Committee will send one email to the membership including: nominees’ names, work locations, and one URL link, provided by the nominee, pointing to a website of their choosing.

Voting will be by electronic ballot sent to the email we have on file from your membership form. This email will come from Simply Voting; remember to check your junk / spam folders. Voting will start on 2021-02-01 and remain open for seven (7) days. Results will be communicated on or before 2021-02-16.

Please ensure you read the nomination guide attached to the nomination form carefully as it contains important information. You will receive confirmation from the Elections Committee that your nomination form was received within 24 hours of sending it in. The Elections Committee is Vice President April Hallock, Trustee Michelle Boyko & Trustee Sadhana Kumar. You can contact your Steward, Regional Chairperson, or the Elections Committee with any questions.

In Solidarity,

CUPE Local 104 Elections Committee

Vacation Leave Carry-over limits

2021-01-09

CUPE 104 members are reminded that vacation leave balances will not be automatically cashed out this fiscal year if in excess of the annual carry-over limit (per the CHRO update issued 2020-06-04) and as per the rest of the Federal Public Service.  Employees now have until March 31st, 2022 to reduce their excess leave balances to under the carry-over limit (400hrs for Civilian Members and 262.5hrs for Public Service Employees).

Please contact your steward or regional chair if your manager attempts to put on you a leave action plan for this fiscal year with the goal of bringing you under the leave carry-over limits by March 31st, 2021 as that shouldn’t be happening.

President’s Message

2020-12-05

It goes without saying that this year has been a year like no other.  COVID-19 continues to challenge us and our communities in every respect including our health, child/elder parent care-giving responsibilities, economy, mental health, workplaces, and the list goes on.  I cannot be prouder to represent a most incredible group of people who continue to be heroes that are instrumental to Public and Officer safety.

I am hearing wonderful stories of people supporting their fellow colleagues within our group.  Let’s keep being there for each other as this situation continues.  It is important to try reaching out for help if you are struggling and it is just as important to reach out to others to check-in on them as they may not realize or be able to say that they are in crisis.

Mental health of first responders is becoming more and more a topic that is in the news and is well known but sadly inclusion of Public Safety Communicators (PSCs) in the first responder references is not prevalent.  We have an opportunity to change that!

We as TOs and IMs are PSCs and PSCs are operational first responders.  Moreover, this pandemic has proven that we are essential and critical services.  PSCs need to be recognized formally as essential to public safety and as First Responders.  Police officers, fire fighters, correctional officers and the like have a formal designation that is recognized in legislation and we do not.

We need statistics and research to support our stance and experiences.  We need facts and figures to back us up if we want or say we need more mental health support, that we should have better compensation for what we do, that we shouldn’t work as many years as we do until retirement, etc.

There is research currently being done by a distinguished researcher out of Memorial University on PSCs and their mental health.  We have an opportunity here to make a difference.  I encourage everyone to consider doing this survey as the more info that is obtained the better.  Information and link to this survey is found on our webpage (https://104.cupe.ca/2020/12/01/mental-health-study-for-public-safety-communicators-please-consider-participating/) and Facebook page.

Formal negotiations with the employer have begun!  It will be a long process to get to our first collective agreement, but it is extremely exciting to say that it’s started.

Our Recording Secretary, affectionately known as Karen LK, has just stepped down from her CUPE 104 duties and has moved onwards and upwards from a very distinguished and long career with the Force.  She will still be in the Public Service and serving in a critical role that supports Union and management relations and growth.  Karen worked extremely hard for CUPE 104 from before its inception right until her very last day and was instrumental in getting us to where we are today.  A very heartfelt thank-you to Karen for everything she has done and will continue to do for us as well as the whole of the greater public service in her new role.

Mental health study for Public Safety Communicators – Please consider participating

Dear Canadian public safety communicators,

APCO Canada and researchers from Memorial University have partnered together to deliver an anonymous survey designed to assess operational stress injuries (OSIs) among public safety communicators (e.g., 911, police, fire, and ambulance call-takers and dispatchers, emergency telecommunications). OSIs refer to many different clinically significant mental health symptoms of injury that are often called disorders (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, sleep disorders, substance abuse disorders).

This research will begin a communications-focused assessment of traumatic exposures, OSI symptoms and the associated impacts, on communicators and their families, as well as identifying individual differences in risk and resiliency that may serve as useful avenues for treatment.

For more reasons to participate or if you have any questions, feel free to contact the lead researcher for the study, Dr. Stephen Czarnuch (sczarnuch@mun.ca) 709.864.7850. He is happy to answer any questions.

Please remember that participation is confidential, and no identifying information will be shared with your employer or union or any person. The survey is voluntary and anonymous, so we cannot identify who participated, and your information will be protected. Participating (or choosing not to participate) will not, under any circumstances, impact your relationship with your employer, union, APCO Canada, or the researchers. The intention of this research is to try to understand how Canadian communicators can be best served, and how your needs can be met as we all work towards creating a healthier work environment.

This survey will take approximately 30 – 90 minutes to complete. You will be given a unique code when you first start the survey, and you can stop at any time and return to your survey where you stopped using this code. I encourage all communicators to participate via one of the links below:

Survey (English and French): (https://mun.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aXfFrsQKdEqgamp)

 

Thank you!

Stephen Czarnuch, PhD, P.Eng.
Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science /
Discipline of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
Memorial University of Newfoundland